The purpose of a study just published online in Public Health Nutrition -with Dr. Yannis Manios as first author- was to investigate the associations of parental education, employment, and ethnicity with children's weight status and whether children's breakfast habits mediated differences in overweigh/obesity according to parental education and ethnicity.
ENERGY study, school-based survey among 10-12-year-old children was conducted in eight European countries. Children's weight and height were measured and breakfast habits and family sociodemographic characteristics were self-reported by 5444 children and their parents. International Obesity Task Force cut-off points were used to categorize children as overweight/obese or normal weight. Mediation analyses were used to test the potential mediating effect of children's breakfast consumption on the associations between family sociodemographic characteristics and children's overweight/obesity.
Children's reported daily breakfast consumption varied from 56 % in Slovenia to 92 % in Spain on weekdays and from 79 % in Greece to 93 % in Norway on weekends. Children of 'native' parents (i.e. parents that were born in the country of questionnaire administration), with both parents employed and with at least one parent having more than 14 years of education were more likely to consume breakfast daily and less likely to be overweight/obese. Mediation analyses revealed that the association of parental nationality and parental educational status with children's overweight/obesity was partially mediated by children's daily breakfast consumption.